NANJING - A lesser athlete would have allowed an ill-timed injury to hinder both physical and mental preparations but Singaporean diver Jonathan Chan soldiered on.
The 17-year-old, determined to complete the biggest dives of his sporting career so far, finished 10th out of 11 divers yesterday in the Youth Olympic Games men's 10m platform event.
He scored 384.40 in the preliminary round in the morning, with the scores of the first four dives carried forward into the final for a total score of 412.40.
China's Yang Hao was in a league of his own, scoring 665.90 to take gold, more than 100 points ahead of silver medallist Philippe Gagne of Canada (531.70) and Rodrigo Diego Lopez of Mexico (512.75).
Competing with white tape thinly strapped around his right arm, Jonathan said a strain to his tricep had hampered his ability to earn better scores.
That meant training with a lower intensity in the immediate days before competition, his hands often unable to push through when making contact with the water.
Still, he was glad to have been cleared fit to compete.
"I think I could've done better," he said. "I didn't practice as much, so it's the best I can do for now. I usually feel this strain, so I didn't think much of it, but it got worse after coming to Nanjing. The fact that I could still compete is a relief."
The Singaporean is the last of the Republic's 18-strong contingent to be in action at the Games, and is slated to be part of a mixed team event again today where he will team up with women's 3m springboard silver medallist Ganna Krasnoshlyk of Ukraine.
Singapore coach Xu Jie said the perserverance his charge had shown through his tricep strain has been admirable.
"To be able to hold up like he did was above my expectations. It's not easy to persevere until the end," he said.
"I think his biggest takeaway from this competition should be the way he continued to train and compete even when he was feeling less than 100 per cent."
While he had to endure a wait until the second last day of competition before seeing any action, Jonathan said the long wait had turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
It allowed his tricep strain more time to recover, and it also gave him plenty of support during the preliminary round at the Olympic Sports Centre aquatic centre, with most of his Team Singapore team-mates showing up early yesterday morning to cheer him on.
Said Jonathan: "The wait was also good because if I didn't have it, I wouldn't have been able to recover in time to compete.
"It's heartwarming that they all came down to support me when they could have gone to do their own things."
Meanwhile, in athletics, hurdler Nur Izlyn Zaini featured in a 8x100m mixed team relay. Using a shuttle run format, it combines runners, throwers and jumpers in one event.
Teaming up with athletes like thrower Serena Brown from the Bahamas, the Singaporean's team clocked 1:49.58, sixth in her heat.
This article was first published on August 27, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.